Case Studies

Indiana College – 2012

Brian has been working since early 2013 with Imperial College to help them define and drive a project to understand and simplify their information architecture, focusing on a key area around students, utilising existing canonical data models for universities and other organisations. The pilot tested the approach and, with appropriate validation, will lead to a set of projects across the college to deliver the aims below. The first of these projects around SOA, has been approved.

1)    Understand the IT estate better, determine who is responsible for key system and information assets, both of which will help the College become more agile in the way they support business users and business needs

2)    Present a clearer, trustworthy, interactive and timely view of information across all applications to consumers of information (students, academics, researchers etc.) at all levels within the organisation

3)    Increase confidence in the College’s information through business information owners, who will provide a common point of ownership for both systems and reporting information.

4)    Reduce the cost of licencing, managing, upgrading and adapting supporting IT systems within the College, by challenging the suppliers to provide more rounded applications, by consolidating where practical and by reducing the proliferation and complexity of interfaces.

The College wishes to harvest the information assets and consolidate knowledge it already has, retire any unnecessary systems, reduce the complexity and cost of interfacing and enrich the visual experience for key workers.

Together, the delivery of these aims will allow the College to make better-informed decisions, at lower cost and respond to business change faster.

The project goals are easy to document but very hard to achieve, hence the recommendation that a pilot approach be used, which can test the approach, deliver valuable recommendations, particularly relating to integration simplification.

The project has defined a pilot approach, built around a hub and spoke architecture akin to Services Oriented Architecture. Moving towards this hub and spoke model will realise opportunities at three levels:

  • Process Simplification
  • Systems Consolidation
  • Interface Consolidation

The scope of the pilot is extensive enough to demonstrate the value of the approach, but simple enough to deliver useful information in a 3 months timebox. Scope can also be partitioned according to these three levels.

Because the College can quickly model interfaces using the Oracle Enterprise Repository and because one of the likely cost savings is to reduce the number of interfaces required, the pilot has focussed on Interface Consolidation and a small visualisation around tutoring.

The pilot also focusses on an area of perceived duplication or data proliferation and one where the potential cost savings and organisational benefits can be seen early.

The initial work on the project started in February 2013 and continues through the pilot phase into June.

East India Corporation – 2012

East India is a London Borough serving some 230,000 residents. An area designated as a national priority for urban regeneration. The Council started using Oracle in the mid-1990’s to support its social care application and then implemented Oracle Financials and Procurement in 1998 for the whole council. In 2011, it went live with Release 12 of Oracle’s flagship software package and is a Tier Two member of the Athena Programme.

Within the current economic and fiscal climate, the Council is ensuring that it is spending wisely and to that end, needed to ensure the governance of its Oracle systems was appropriate.  Following a campaign to local authorities, explaining its Oracle capabilities, the Council recognised it needed expert advice to help with this review and engaged Socitm Consulting.

Brian, SOCITM’s senior Oracle consultant, worked on behalf of Socitm Consulting and the Council to review their Oracle R12 systems. Brian delivered a report which outlined much of the history of the implementation, compared documented information with information calculated using a software tool called Configsnapshot and then gave recommendations to the Council about what they should be doing next with the software. The software installed includes not only the Finance and Procurement modules, but also the self-service procurement module known as iProcurement. One of Brian’s recommendations was to roll out the iProcurement module more widely within the organisation to ensure that as much as possible is purchased within contracted agreements and also to better facilitate matching of orders to invoices.

The report was presented to senior management on the 6th November 2012 and has provided assurance to the management about their use of Oracle as well as recommending some changes that will improve user adoption, such as the rollout of iProcurement and the use of an external workflow to approve invoices.

Configsnapshot helps organisations to document and manage their Oracle estates. It can significantly reduce the time required to monitor and manage E-Business Suite, increasing accuracy and minimising the risks normally associated with the applications.

Our review concluded that the Council had implemented the software in a safe way and recommended some practical steps forward. The Council’s internal team of highly qualified Oracle staff, whilst overworked, clearly provided good value for the Council. Brian was able to provide skills that enhanced the skills of the team at a time when permanent recruitment of these particular skills is neither practical nor required.

The client was particularly pleased with the thoroughness of the work and the work done in the evenings, outside the confines of chargeable work, leading to even greater reassurances.